In college one takes road trips.  We took them, my friends and I, in a rust orange Ford Bronco without any floor in it, driven by my friend, the sober one who never had more than eight drinks and never, not once, had to be carried home, bailed out of jail, or anything like that.  We were driving to a tiny college in Florida where a friend had a sister.  That sister loved her brother so much, and had such a forgiving sense of humor, that she would consider housing him and his loud, potentially naked cohort in her dorm room for a three day weekend, which was really going to be a four or five day weekend.  We had got people kicked out of dorms before and would likely do so again.

This is important because the Bronco overheated I don’t know where, somewhere in northern Florida probably, or it could have been South Carolina.  We found a tiny little garage.  It was about six and the sun was down below trees and we had nothing to do for two hours, or maybe three hours, so my friend with the proper identification bought beer.  

The man who was working on the bronco wanted some of that beer.  We needed that bronco fixed.  Then he wanted another beer.  He was maybe an inch taller than me — I’m at best 5’10 — and probably 230 pounds of solid round bellied man.  He wanted to know where we were going and the likelihood that we’d be having sexual relations at that place.  The mechanic made us feel like gentlemen I guess.  

It was just him and us staring at the gravel.  “You sound like a bunch of pussies,” he said.  We looked at him.  We probably tried to look hurt about it, or maybe not, we were pretty stupid.  We needed the bronco to run.  My friend with the sister told him about all the girls who would be there.  Then he wanted to know how many women we’d slept with.  He wanted us each to tell him.  When it came to me I just looked at him, and I don’t know what it was, but something made him not want to ask questions anymore.  He wanted to trade hats.

I put on his hat and he put on mine.  Then he looked at me again for a second.  Then he turned and threw my hat up on the roof of the repair shop.  “Your hat’s on my roof,” he said.  We needed that car fixed, and so when it was, my hat was still on the roof and his hat was still on my head.  We gave him two more beers over the next twenty minutes.  I don’t know what happened to that other hat. Image